How to at­tract more fe­male lead­ers

LAU­REN STILLER RIKLEEN

Finweek English Edition - - MANAGEMENT -

The Stan­ford School of Medicine re­cently launched an ini­tia­tive to in­crease the num­ber of women on its fac­ulty. The pro­gramme is rooted in data that should res­onate with any busi­ness or pro­fes­sion con­fronting a gen­der gap in its lead­er­ship ranks.

Like many or­gan­i­sa­tions, the Stan­ford School of Medicine re­quires an “all-in” com­mit­ment from fac­ulty mem­bers, which of­ten trans­lates to pun­ish­ing hours that aren’t ex­actly con­ducive to work-life bal­ance. Such work-life conf licts have sig­nif­i­cantly af­fected the school’s abil­ity to re­cruit and re­tain women. The school has poli­cies in place that of­fer f lex­i­bil­ity op­tions, in­clud­ing un­paid leave for up to a year af­ter the birth or adop­tion of a child, grants of up to $5 000 per year for child care, on-site child care op­tions, grants for de­pen­dent care ex­penses in­curred while trav­el­ling to at­tend pro­fes­sional meet­ings, and tem­po­rary re­duc­tions from full-time to part-time sta­tus for fam­ily-re­lated needs. How­ever, th­ese poli­cies have gen­er­ally been un­der­utilised and per­ceived as in­com­pat­i­ble with pro­fes­sional norms of suc­cess.

The school re­alised that com­bat­ing the threats to fac­ulty ex­cel­lence and growth would re­quire a much fuller re­sponse. Rec-

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